Libraries and Gardens: Growing Together

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"For me, gardening is the best tool I have to create inclusive library programs. In my urban library, children without disabilities have no advantages over children with disabilities because none of them have gardened before, it’s a level playing (or planting) field."

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Roman philosopher Cicero once remarked that “if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Today, libraries nationwide are beginning to incorporate gardens into their public services. Libraries in the southwestern US, for instance, are creating drought-tolerant gardens as neighborhood demonstration projects, while elsewhere gardens are being used to promote community engagement and even STEM learning. Citing examples of library gardens around the world that are thriving, this first-ever book on the subject not only demonstrates the many benefits of library gardens but also provides a complete overview of issues applicable to all library types and geographical environments. Featuring a full-color photo insert showcasing several beautiful library gardens, among the topics covered in the book are

  • a brief history of libraries and gardens, with an overview of such “demonstration gardens” as medicinal and herbal gardens, native plant gardens, xeriscapes, and gardens as wildlife sanctuaries;
  • the use of plants, such as living walls and rooftop gardens, to create ecologically healthy, sustainable environments;
  • gardens as learning environments and spaces for storytimes and active play;
  • food gardens, seed libraries, sensory gardens, outdoor reading areas, prison garden programs, and many other ways that libraries can engage communities;
  • guidance on designing for inclusivity, planning, funding, staffing, recruiting volunteers, and planting and maintenance, complete with advice on determining the best plants to cultivate; and
  • ideas on evaluating the effectiveness of library gardens and the program opportunities they offer.

Readers will not only be inspired to create and nurture their own library gardens and programs, they will receive practical advice on how to proceed and sustain them.

Imprint: ALA Editions
Published: 2019Pages: 144

Sku: 9780838918555

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